One of my former students posted a link on Facebook to a youtube video called "The Holy Spirit Hokey Pokey". Insert deep sigh here. Yep . . . look it up, folks. You hardly know if you should laugh or cry at this stuff. But Charissa's reaction was more in the crying realm, and mine is too. As she said, this could be what God was talking about when he said not to take His name in vain.
I mentioned my charismatic friend in an earlier blog, and I've had others over the years -- most of them very godly people. Love them all, despite our theological differences. I'm not sure what to do with the whole speaking-in-tongues things, though.
I know better than to put God in a box and say how he does and doesn't do things. I have had sincere friends who've told me that they genuinely spoke in spiritual tongues by the power of the Holy Spirit, and I have a hard time disbelieving them. But I've also had other friends who sincerely told me that they faked it, and the church didn't know the difference.
I'm most troubled by the testimony of a Bible study leader I had once who was a former Satanist. He said that he spoke in tongues all the time in his Satanic worship. When he tried to get "saved" at an Assembly of God revival, and they were expecting him to speak in tongues, he obliged them and they whooped and praised the Lord that he was saved. He knew full well he wasn't saved -- he was demon-possessed.
Anyway, beyond the actual practice of tongues, I'm troubled by the whole charismatic worship environment. Again, I'm not going to put God in a box and say that he doesn't ever actually work in the hearts of any of those people jumping around and shaking and hollering. But people can get just as worked up at a rock concert, or a political rally, or a sports event . . . and experience similar "revelations" and "touchings" apparently. I have to say I'm more than a little skeptical. And even if these spiritual interactions are genuine, I'm convinced that God can make them happen in environments that are less open to the danger of delusion.
And I would be much more impressed if I witnessed the embodiment of Christ in their lives outside of the worship space. I don't remember reading in scripture about the frenzy of the Holy Spirit, but about the fruit of the Holy Spirit -- and "by their fruit, you shall know them."